The hype generator surrounding Universal’s pricey remake/reimagining/whatever of John Carpenter’s 1982 chiller “The Thing” (itself a remake of 1951’s “The Thing From Another World”) has been on the fritz lately. We first got a fairly impressive look at the movie way back at last year’s New York Comic Con. At that point the film was scheduled for an April 29th, 2011 bow, before getting pushed back considerably to the more Halloween-friendly slot of October 14th, 2011. While this new release date is right around the corner, only one trailer and a single mysterious poster for the flick had surfaced in recent months (though we’re just happy it’s a Halloween release that doesn’t feature home video footage of ghosts). Well, the hype generator seems to have been reengaged, with MTV (via Coming Soon) debuting the first stand alone clip from the movie.
The incredibly brief clip (it clocks in at a whopping 46 seconds) shows Adewale “Don’t Call Me Mr. Eko” Akinnuoye-Agbaje, playing American helicopter pilot Derek Jameson, investigating the ice coffin of the titular shape-shifting beast. He wipes away a layer of frost before getting the bejeezus scared out of him by a fellow crewmember (it looks to us like a bearded Stig Henrik Hoff, but he appears and disappears so quickly it’s sort of hard to tell). Since this is a horror movie clip, designed for maximum shock, moments later the ice coffin erupts, the intergalactic creature escaping (loudly) through the ceiling.
While this glimpse is far too short to leave any real impression, it is worth noting that back at Comic Con, the film’s director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. swore up, down, and sideways about how much of the movie’s monster would be realized using practical physical effects (mostly puppets). In this clip, though, the ice coffin has that distinctively phony shimmer of computer effects, and when the monster makes its debut it looks entirely computer generated, a dangle of legs (or perhaps tentacles). One only needs to look to “Attack the Block,” whose ferocious creatures were almost wholly practical, to see how scary puppets can be.
We remain, based on the hazy memories from Comic Con, cautiously optimistic about this one – it’s got a cool, multi-culti cast (including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen) and unlike most prequels, has a story mysterious enough to merit further investigation. We just hope that once we get a good look at the monster it’ll be more physical and less computer-y. We’ll know soon enough.